Auburn’s Chuck Person, USC’s Tony Bland Among Eight Indicted In NCAA Basketball Corruption Case
Eight people, including four college basketball assistant coaches charged for bribery, were indicted Tuesday by a federal grand in New York City.
NCAA Basketball Corruption Scandal Indictments News
Prosecutors said the individuals were accused of using bribes to sway star athletes’ choice of programs, shoe sponsors and agents. One Adidas official was also charged in the probe. The accused face fraud and other charges that carry potential penalties upon conviction of decades in prison.
The assistant coaches charged were 53-year-old Chuck Person of Auburn, Emanuel “Book” Richardson, 44, of Arizona; Tony Bland, 37, of USC; and Lamont Evans, 40, of Oklahoma State.
Auburn officials suspended Person, the school’s all-time leading scorer and Bruce Pearl’s associate head coach, without pay on the day he was arrested. Person — who is said to have handled around $141,500 — no longer works at the University. The Tigers also announced the indefinite suspensions of rookie players Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy amid the ongoing FBI probe into illegal recruiting actions, one of the largest scandals in college sports in recent years.
“Chuck Person did not commit a crime and we’re confident he will be vindicated at trial after a jury hears all the evidence,” attorney Theresa Trzaskoma said.
Also indicted Tuesday were former NBA referee Rashan Michel, Adidas director of global sports marketing James Gatto, another Adidas employee named Merl Code, and Christian Dawkins, a former NBA agent who was recently fired from ASM Sports.
Craig Mordock, an attorney for Richardson, said, “This is really pushing the envelope of what constitutes a crime.”
“An indictment is another step in the process,” Mordock added. “But once again, Emanuel Richardson is not guilty.”
Bland’s attorney has represented high-profile clients like Mexican drug lord “El Chapo” and John Gotti Jr.
Two other high-profile individuals were impacted by the investigation: Jonathan Brad Augustine, president of The League Initiative, director of an Adidas-sponsored program: Helped funnel/hide money through that youth basketball program. Augustine has also been connected to the recruitment of an unidentified 2018 player who is being pursued by several top universities. Also impacted was financial adviser Munish Sood, who was allegedly a power broker who helped move approximately $250,000 to families of high school basketball players with the help of Gatto.
Lawyers for Evans, Sood and Augustine could not be reached for comment.
NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 10: Chuck Person exits the Federal Courthouse in Manhattan on October 10, 2017 in New York City. Several people associated with NCAA Basketball have been charged as part of a corruption ring. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
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